In another move aimed at accelerating the transition to the NC or server-centric paradigm, Sun recently unveiled its StarPortal initiative to make word processing, presentation graphics, spreadsheet, and other office software tools available free of charge from Web browsers and devices like 3Com's PalmPilot.
Several business partners, including AT&T Internet Services, BellSouth, and Digex, will offer the office productivity suite to their customers, and Sun hopes that other Internet service providers and outsourcing services will act as distribution channels for the StarPortal service.
Sun's quasi-open source Solaris policy, the growth of Linux, and the success Sun has achieved in freely distributing StaOffice ("a ubiquitous client interface to our StarPortal
") are each examples of trends that are putting the squeeze on Microsoft.
Sueltz also inherits the new Star Division office application suite and any potential headaches that will come from trying to take market share away from Microsoft on the desktop with the Windows and Linux versions of the StarOffice suite and from trying to launch a Java-based network computing version of the StarOffice suite, called StarPortal
The software, StarPortal, is being designed for ISPs and application outsourcing companies that will host the StarOffice- based applications for use by small and medium-sized companies.
The first versions of StarPortal are due in 60 days, production ships are due in the first quarter of next year.
Star Division is using Java APIs to develop StarPortal so developers can integrate StarPortal functions within their applications - such as embedding a spreadsheet with a financial application.
Sun decided not to roll SunRay's debut into the announcement of its StarPortal
strategy based upon the acquisition of Star Division yesterday because it wants to keep the momentum going for as long as possible.
The two Star products on show tomorrow when Sun's latest Corona JavaStation is to make its debut, will be the StarOffice office suite and StarPortal
. Star Division's StarOffice suite includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database and a presentation f unction and runs on Linux, OS/2, Solaris and Windows.